Muslim ban protest Zach Gibson/Stringer

The New Anti-Semitism

Those who have been telling us that Islam, not just revolutionary Islamism, is a lethal threat to Western civilization should now feel satisfied: the US president and his main advisers agree with them. Less than a century ago, the same arguments were used to exclude and persecute Jews.

NEW YORK – Those who have been telling us that Islam, not just revolutionary Islamism, is a lethal threat to Western civilization should now feel satisfied: the President of the United States, and his main advisers, agree with them. In the tweeted words of Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, General Mike Flynn: “Fear of Muslims is rational.” Stephen Bannon, the former executive chairman of the alt-right Breitbart News who is Trump’s chief political strategist and a member of the National Security Council, has stated that the “Judeo-Christian” West is engaged in a global war with Islam.

Trump has promised to put “America first,” borrowing the slogan of American isolationists in the 1930s, whose most famous spokesman, the aviator Charles Lindbergh, was a notorious anti-Semite who blamed Jews and liberals for pulling the US into a war with Hitler, a man whom he admired. Lindbergh believed that, “We can have peace and security only so long…as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races.”

So “America first” has racism in its DNA. Are the views concerning Islam that are now entrenched in the White House in any way similar to the anti-Semitism of the 1930s? Have Bannon, Flynn, and Trump simply updated old prejudices, and replaced one set of Semites with another?

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